'Patients cannot wait' for action on long Covid, say Conservatives

The Scottish Conservatives have published a policy paper calling for urgent action on long Covid in Scotland.

MSP Sandesh Gulhane, who is also a GP, urged the government to set up long Covid clinics, a dedicated care fund, and to work with health services and research institutions around the UK to find out more about the condition.

The GP system risks being “overwhelmed” by patients presenting with long Covid, Dr Gulhane said.

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He said: “As a GP, I have seen the devastating effects of long Covid on many of my patients. Fit and healthy individuals have been left crippled by fatigue or gasping for breath.

Scottish Conservative MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane

“This policy paper is the first step to get the SNP Government to treat long Covid with the seriousness it deserves. We need to see SNP ministers urgently outline a clear strategy to tackle the disease and ring-fence funding to specifically treat long Covid patients.

“A network of long Covid clinics, alongside a new app-based treatment service, would ensure we reach everyone struggling with this debilitating condition.

Patients cannot wait for years for action. Too many people who fought Covid are still suffering with the consequences, months after they caught the virus.

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“I urge SNP ministers to get on top of long Covid now before it spirals and has serious knock-on consequences for other services in Scotland’s NHS.”

The Scottish Government said it is working to support people with long Covid and to find out more about the disease.

A spokesperson said: “NHS Scotland continues to deliver its full range of services to support the needs of people with long Covid, and we are engaging with NHS Boards as they coordinate pathways across primary, community and secondary care services to support a coherent patient journey.

"Whilst long Covid clinics are one model that NHS Boards may explore, we know no one single approach is likely to fit all areas and circumstances.

“This is still a relatively new illness and it is important that we continue to improve our understanding of its effects on people. We are keeping all aspects under review, including specialist services and funding to ensure people suffering from long Covid receive the best possible care and support.”

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